The Caring Force Blog February Member Spotlight

The Caring Force is pleased to announce the February Member Spotlight honoree is Richard Cobbinah, an Assistant Manager at Horace Mann Educational Associates. Richard is very passionate about his work and it has not gone unnoticed. He recently won HMEA’s Board of Director’s award after 7 years of service.

Here is what Richard had to say when we asked him about his career in human services:

What is your best professional memory?

“That would have to be when I won the Board of Directors award. I was so surprised and honored. I love my job and do not really think of it as work. When I was recognized by the residential coordinator and won, it was something I will never forget! My name and picture were put in the awards night program! My supervisor had these thoughts of me, who would have known?”

Richard’s supervisor described him in the following way:

“Richard started in the program about 7 years ago as a support staff, Richard’s calm personality and positive outlook helped him work his way up to assistant manager. Richard comes in on Sunday’s (his day off) to pick of one of the gentleman he supports to take him to Church with him. This gentleman loves Church, and has become such a staple in Richard’s Church, that once a month they have him play the organ with Richard! Richard is always looking to improve the lives of the men he supports, especially in community settings. He is amazing at adapting to the specific needs of each person he supports. Richard steps into each situation with a smile and a positive attitude, his number one quote ‘Don’t worry about it, everything works out in the end’”

What was one major challenge you faced in human services and how have you solved the problem?

“One major challenge we all face in this line of work is staffing. We have always been short staffed, but it got to a point where we needed to more about it. The group home that I work in is part of a “network” of 6 homes, geographically, the homes not only in our network, but the agency residential division has group homes as far as Gardner to Fall River, and we knew that we needed to do something. So the managers and assistant managers in my Network, along with our RC started having job fairs at one of the day program sites. It has not “solved” the problem for the long term, but what it did do, was get HMEA’s name out there, and we were able to meet really great candidates and we did make a few hires. HMEA offers incentives when we refer someone and that has been a great tool, that along with word of mouth, social media presence and advertising has helped the continuous staffing crisis we face to support our folks.”

Who has inspired you to do your best at what you do? (Question from Jennifer Zuniga, January spotlight)

“My source of inspiration has been my Residential Coordinator (Ashley Griffin). Amazing coordinator, very supportive and always available to help in times of need.”

What’s something you’d like to ask the next caring force member who gets a spotlight?

“What do you think agencies can do to obtain and retain staff?”

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